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Friday, September 28, 2007

Van Halen v4.0 Launches

The fourth incarnation of Van Halen -- with David Lee Roth back on vocals and Eddie Van Halen's 16-year old son Wolfgang on bass -- kicked off their North American tour last night (Thursday) before a sold-out crowd of 15-thousand at the Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. They started the 23-song show with the track that put them on the map, their cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," and finished two-hours and 10-minutes later with their biggest hit, "Jump."
Concentrating on only the six albums Roth sang on, they did a combination of their best-known material, as well as some lesser played songs like "Romeo Delight," "Show Your Love" and "Little Dreamer." Everyone was in good spirits, with huge smiles all night. Roth told the audience, "It only took 20 years to get this far," with Eddie adding, "We can't tell you how excited we are to be here."
The tour, which is scheduled through December 22nd in Oakland, California, moves onto Greesnboro, North Carolina tomorrow (Saturday), where the band started their 2004 reunion tour with Sammy Hagar.
The set featured a gigantic screen at the back that ran the entire width of the 'S'-shaped stage. Eddie, shirtless and dressed in Capri pants, was the most energetic of the group -- doing his familiar jumps with one leg outstretched. Wolfgang pretty much kept to the left side of the stage. As for "Diamond Dave," this is no longer 1985, so gone were the jumps but he still offered a few leg kicks.
Eddie had some fun with his son, at one point kissing him on the lips, and getting on his knees to play at Wolfie's feet. Both Eddie and Alex Van Halen did solos, and after Alex's, Wolfie said, "The best drummer on the planet. It don't get better than that." Beyond his bass playing, Wolfie also had no trouble handling Michael Anthony's background vocals.
The last song of the set was "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love," and the band walked off for 15 seconds before coming back for the encore, "Jump." Roth waved a giant red flag, twirled his martial arts stick and bounced on a giant inflatable microphone -- but he did not jump. With confetti raining down, Eddie said, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."